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1)    Understanding True Bible Faith

4th Pillar – the Cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary and Christ’s Ministerial Work There as our High Priest.

     The earthly high priest’s responsibilities included bearing the names of the “children of Israel...before the Lord” (Exodus 28:12), bearing “the judgement of the children of Israel” (Exodus 28:30), bearing “the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts” (Exodus 28:38); bearing “the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:17); bearing “the iniquity of the sanctuary” (Numbers 18:1); and bearing “the iniquity of your priesthood” (Numbers 18:1).
     But the most important responsibility was for the high priest to enter into the most holy place or the second apartment of the Sanctuary to meet directly with God.  And he could only enter into the Most Holy Place and meet with God on just one day of each year – which was called the Day of Atonement.

2)     The Day of Atonement occurred on “the tenth day of this seventh month”, which was in the fall season (Leviticus 23:27).  All of the daily sanctuary services performed, as well as all the daily sacrifices made for sin, all pointed forward towards this particular one day.  But what does the word Atonement mean?
     The Hebrew word for “atonement” is “kaphar”, and it translates and means “to cover with a coating like bitumen, to cancel, to appease, make an atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, pardon, purge away, reconcile” (Strong’s, word #3722).  Through the Atonement any sins which the people had committed, and had confessed would be freely forgiven, removed and purged away, and then they would become completely cleansed from all these sins.  Any punishment due them would be disannulled and cancelled, and thus the wrath of Almighty God against them for breaking His law and committing sin would be now appeased because they would have been reconciled back to Him though this atonement.  And finally, they would be covered over with a material like bitumen which is very sticky, and this would represent the righteousness of Christ.  This precious robe of Christ’s righteousness – like bitumen – would so fully cling to and completely cover them over so that none of their own naked and shameful self could be seen, but only His righteousness.  And all of this would be freely done and provided for all of God’s truly repentant followers because of this Atonement!

3)    When an individual had sinned by breaking any of God’s commandments, they were to bring to the priest an animal sacrifice, then confess their sin over its head, and then it was sacrificed and its blood spilled in order to make an Atonement for them.  This sacrificial offering for sin was designed to signify that the particular sin and guilt for breaking God’s law had now been transferred from the individual sinner to a willing substitute.  With this accomplished, this substitute would now bear the particular sin and guilt as its own, and then voluntarily suffer the penalty for this sin which is death in order to provide complete atonement or forgiveness and cleansing for that individual, thus making it as if they had never sinned in the first place. So then only those who complied with this God-ordained process could be benefitted by the Atonement, and there were indeed millions of God’s followers who all willingly complied with this process of substitution in order to be freed from their sins and become fully cleansed and hid in righteousness.  Thus without limitation, any and all who complied with this process could receive the Atonement!

     On each day of the year leading up to the Day of Atonement, multitudes of guilty individuals had brought their sin offerings, confessed their sins over the substitute animal which then symbolically transferred their sins onto this innocent victim.  This substitute victim was then slain, and then some of its blood was taken by the priests and placed upon the horns of the Altar of Sacrifice as well as the Altar of Incense, which symbolically transferred the sin through the blood of the substitute victim onto the Sanctuary itself.  This transference of sin made the Sanctuary itself unclean and contaminated “because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins” (Leviticus 16:16).

4)    The precise process which the Lord God Michael gave in order to remove the burden of sin and then cleanse the Sanctuary on this Day of Atonement is found recorded in Leviticus chapter 16, and it involved 12 very important steps:

     1.  The high priest first selected a young bullock for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering for himself and for the rest of the priests and their households, and then entered into the outer court of the Sanctuary.

     2.  He then washed “his flesh in water”, and after becoming fully cleansed, he then put on all the holy garments of his priesthood.

     3.  He then sacrificed and spilled the blood of the bullock to atone for his and the other priest’s sins, and placed some of it’s blood into a small container.

     4.  Then he entered into the first apartment, took a censer and took some live fiery coals from off the Altar of Incense and placed these into the censer, then he took some incense in his other hand and entered into the second apartment.  While passing through the inner veil and into this most holy place, the high priest put this incense upon the coals in the censer which caused a cloud of fragrant smoke of sweet smelling incense to billow up and fill the room.  This cloud of incense shielded his person from being directly seen by God whose very presence was manifested between the two cherub angels and above the mercy seat.

     5.  After doing this, the high priest then put the censer down, took the small container of the bullock’s spilled blood and with his own finger he sprinkled it’s blood upon the mercy seat, and then in addition he also sprinkled it’s blood in front of the mercy seat 7 times.

     6.  The high priest then left the censer within the most holy place, and went out into the first apartment.  He then placed some of the bullock’s blood upon each of the horns of the Altar of Incense, and then sprinkled it’s blood in front of the Altar 7 times.

     After doing these things, an atonement had been made for the high priest as well as for all the other priests and their households, and they were all now considered fully forgiven from all their confessed sins made throughout that year, and were now actually sinless!

     The entire carcass of this sacrificed young bullock, including its skin, flesh and dung, was not burnt on the Altar of Sacrifice, but it was carried forth outside of the camp of Israel and then  completely burnt up until nothing remained of it but ashes.

5)    What processes were needed to make the atonement for the rest of the Israelites?

     7.  The now cleansed, guiltless and sinless high priest went out of the first apartment and into the outer court to the entrance door of the Tabernacle, and took two goats and a ram to make atonement for the children of Israel.  He then cast lots upon the two goats, and the “goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell” was chosen specifically by God to be the sin offering for the children of Israel, while the other goat which was called the Scape Goat was kept alive.  The ram was to be kept as a burnt offering for the Israelites later on that day.

     8.  The high priest then sacrificed and spilled the blood of the goat chosen to atone for the accumulated sins of the children of Israel, then placed some of its shed blood into another small container, and then just like with the blood of the bullock, he brought the goat’s blood into the most holy place, sprinkled it on the mercy seat and then 7 times before the mercy seat, and then did the same process in the first apartment on and before the Altar of Incense.

     After doing these things, an atonement had been made for all the children of Israel, and they were all now considered fully forgiven from all their confessed sins made throughout that year, and were now actually sinless!

     The whole carcass of this sacrificed goat, including its skin, flesh and dung, was also not burnt on the Altar of Sacrifice, but just like with the bullock, it was carried forth outside of the camp of Israel and completely burnt up until nothing remained of it but ashes.

6)    The spilled blood of the substitute young bullock as well as the substitute goat that was specifically chosen by the Lord God Himself was not for the purpose of transferring any sin to the Sanctuary, like it had before been during all that year, but it was now for the purpose of atoning for all the mass of sins which had already occurred and been previously transferred to the Sanctuary (see Leviticus 16:15-19).
     But where did all these sins go?  As the high priest was the one who had applied the blood of these substitute victims onto the Sanctuary in order to cleanse it from all sin, then all this immense amount of sins had symbolically been transferred from off the Sanctuary and onto the sinless high priest, and he was now himself bearing all the sins of both priests and Israelites!

     9.  After finishing this first cleansing work, then the high priest went out of the first apartment, took the live Scape Goat and then “shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat”.  This meant that the high priest was taking all this immense weight of the burden of sin from off of himself and was now transferring it onto the Scape Goat for it to bear instead.

     10.  After doing this, the high priest then gave this Scape Goat into the hands of “a fit man” who took this goat far away out of the camp of Israel and “into the wilderness...and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:21-22).  So this Scape Goat was not slain, its blood was not spilled to atone for any sins at all, but it was itself to “bear upon him all their iniquities” and wander all alone in “a land not inhabited” (Leviticus 16:22), where it ultimately saw death and never returned to bother God’s people again.

     11.  After sending away the Scape Goat by the hand of a fit man, the high priest then went back into the first apartment, and took off all his high priestly garments.  Then he washed himself again with water, put on the garments of the common priests’, and then came out of the first apartment, leaving these other holy garments behind.

     12.  After doing this, he then took both the ram for the priests as well as the ram for the children of Israel and offered them both for a burnt offering unto the Lord to “make an atonement for himself, and for the people”.  So not only were all the confessed sins of the priests and all the children of Israel already atoned for, forgiven, and fully removed from them and also from the Sanctuary, but any possible contamination of these Israelites being connected with sin in the first place had now also been atoned for.  This then meant that they were not only forgiven for all the sins they had once committed and were sinless, but now they were also personally cleansed from all contamination from these sins.  In other words, they were now absolutely perfect and made as if they had never sinned in the first place!

7)    What were the Israelites themselves to do while the high priest was performing all these important steps in the Atonement?  Upon this day “ye shall afflict your souls...And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God” (Leviticus 23:27-28).

     The Hebrew word for “afflict” used here is “anah”, which translates and means “to abase self, afflict, chasten and humble self” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, word #6031).  On this Day of Atonement all of God’s followers were not to be engaged in working, but were to be in an attitude of humbleness and self-abasement, chastening and afflicting themselves because of their past sinful actions.  And since this Day of Atonement actually began on “the ninth day of the month at even” (Leviticus 23:32), or in other words at the very beginning of the 10th day at sunset, while the actual work of the high priest did not begin until daylight of this 10th day, then all of the Israelites had precious time to carefully examine their lives to see if all their sins had indeed been confessed and forgiven.  And if they discovered some sins which had not yet been confessed, then they still had some precious time to bring their sin offering to the priests before the high priest could finish his work of atoning for the Sanctuary and the people.  Because after the high priest had finished his work, it would then be too late for any sin to be forgiven!

     This was so important for all Israelites to follow that “whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day...And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people” (Leviticus 23:29-30).  This meant that this Day of Atonement was to be an extremely solemn and soul-searching occasion, and any of God’s followers who would not respect this day would be destroyed due to their carefree and lax attitude.  This was a day to focus upon the work that the high priest was doing for each and every one of them before God in the Sanctuary, and even though they could not see the priest themselves when he was in the Sanctuary, yet they could  hear the tinkling of the bells upon the bottom of his holy garments, and thus could understand what part of the work he was then performing.

8)    But what did all these things spiritually mean?

What represented the sinless high priest?  This symbolized Jesus Christ, who was the only completely sinless human being this world has ever seen!

What represented the bullock and the Lord’s chosen goat that were both sacrificed as atoning offerings?  Both represented Jesus Christ becoming the chosen sacrificial victim and whose spilled blood can alone atone for our sins!

What represented the blood being sprinkled 7 times before the mercy seat as well as the Altar of Incense?  The number 7 symbolizes perfection, so being sprinkled 7 times symbolized that the blood of Christ alone can fully atone for and completely cleanse any and all of His forgiven people from all of their sins, to the point that they can be perfectly sinless and cleansed.

What represented the Incense which the high priest with his own hand personally placed upon the live coals of fire in the censer?  This represents that Christ personally takes our prayers and with His own hand purifies them by combining them with the incense of His own righteousness.

What represented the cloud of sweet smelling incense shielding the person of the priest from being directly viewed by God?  As our now purified prayers ascend up before God being mixed with the incense cloud of Christ’s own righteousness, these prayers are as a sweet smelling fragrance to the Almighty.  And since God only sees the righteousness of His Son and not how unworthy we really are, then we are in effect shielded from His view by being hidden in Christ.  God then gratefully answers each of our prayers according to His perfect will out of love for us in His Son.

What represented the Scape Goat upon which the high priest as a sin bearer confessed all the forgiven sins of the faithful Israelites upon its head?  The high priest represents Jesus Christ as our Great Sin Bearer, and the Scape Goat represents Lucifer.  So in the end, Jesus Christ will confess all the forgiven sins from all of His followers upon the head of Lucifer who is the author and originator of all sin.

What represents the Fit Man taking the Scape Goat away from the camp of Israel and out into a land not inhabited?  The Fit Man represents the 144,000 saints who have become fully sinless and perfect while they still lived in the midst of the greatest wickedness this world has ever known, and then remained sinless all the way until probation closed for the world and Christ no longer mediated between God and mankind.  The 144,000 are alone qualified to live during the time of the plagues without a Mediator and, like the Fit Man, to take the Scape Goat or Lucifer out into a land not inhabited, and then let him go in that desolate place.  And even though Lucifer makes a great effort to try and escape their hand, yet the 144,000 victoriously pass through this great time of Jacob’s trouble without a Mediator while maintaining their sinlessness and steadfastly refusing to commit any sin.  And after Christ comes and destroys all the wicked still living with His brightness and glory, then the Devil himself will definitely wander all alone in a completely desolate and uninhabitable earth for 1000 years (Revelation 20:2-3).

What represents the bullock and the Lord’s chosen goat carcasses being burnt outside of the camp of God’s followers until nothing remained but ashes?  This symbolizes that all who are dead in trespasses and sins, including the Devil himself, will perish in the lake of fire and they will continue to burn up until nothing remains of them except ashes.  Thus in the end, the responsibility for all sins that have been confessed and forgiven by Christ will themselves be placed upon Lucifer, and he will carry this immensely weighty burden all alone until he finally perishes in the lake of fire, and thus he will never be able to bother God’s people again throughout eternity!

     “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Revelation 20:10.

     “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee....therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.  All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”  Ezekiel 28:14-15, 18-19.

9)    Any sins which were not confessed by the people and which had no blood spilled for, were not transferred to the Sanctuary and thus could not be removed or forgiven by the atoning sacrifice of the chosen substitute.  These sins could not be transferred to the Scape Goat, and thus the goat did not have to personally bear any of these sins himself.  As this was true, then the very person themselves who were guilty of committing these sins would have to bear them!  Any individual who refuses to humbly follow the only pathway God provided for the forgiveness, removal and cleansing of their sins through confession and acceptance of the Lord God Michael/Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and His spilled blood in their behalf, cannot make Lucifer bear their sin, nor can they find any other way of escaping the penalty of sin – which is death.  They must bear the full responsibility for their own sins, and they will ultimately share the same fate of Lucifer by perishing in the lake of fire.  Thus all sin, including its author, as well as all those who refused to give sin up, will be forever removed, destroyed and will never bother God’s people again!
     “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire....the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 20:12-15, 21:8.

10)    Since the followers of God were to afflict their souls and not work upon this Day of Atonement, then what do these two things spiritually mean?

Affliction of our souls would represent that until Christ comes all of God’s followers are to be in an attitude of humbleness and self-abasement, not in an attitude of pride and self-exaltation!  We are to be chastening and afflicting ourselves because of our past sinful actions, not continuing to live in sin and being carefree!  And we are to be using the precious time remaining in closely examining our own lives to see if all our sins have indeed been confessed and forgiven by God, and we are not to be using this precious time in closely examining the lives of others to see if they have any unconfessed sins in their life.  Now if we discover in our personal investigation that we still have unconfessed sins in our own lives, then there is still time remaining to bring our sins to Jesus Christ and have them forgiven.  But as soon as Christ finishes His mediatorial work, it will then be forever too late for any of us to find forgiveness for any of our sins, which means that we must now be earnestly putting off our sins, not adding more on!

The spiritual meaning of not working on the Day of Atonement does not mean today that all of God’s followers must stop working and cease to earn a living at their particular job.  But this would represent that we must not allow ourselves to become so caught up in the things of this world, or to become so engrossed in our careers, or in schooling, or in anything else, that we do not have time to daily spend with God.  We must take time to study God’s word for ourselves, to learn and then practice the truths we discover, to ponder and think on and contemplate upon the plan of our salvation, and especially to closely examine our lives to see if we are indeed in the faith, because if all our sins have not been confessed and forgiven, and if we are not really hid in Jesus, then we cannot and will not be saved.

11)    “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?” (Psalms 77:13).